Test Your Story’s Opening Line– Fiction Writing

I’m taking a masters class through Writers Village and I thought I’d share with you the “secret formula” to your opening lines.

It’s called the Hologram test.  What is the Hologram test?  It’s a golden rule that the first 100 words of your novel be a hologram, a teasing but true sample of the wares to come.

So how can you make sure your story passes this all-important test and wins the hearts of readers?

Here are 3 simple ways:

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Real Life Serial Killers– What makes them tick?

The serial killer has become wildly popular in crime fiction.  Maybe they are so fascinating to us, as readers, because they are complicated creatures.  They are deliciously bad.  We, as writers, are told never to make our antagonist (bad guy) all bad, or our protagonist all good.

Dr. Hannibal Lector is a perfect example of this.  Especially the one depicted in the television series, Hannibal.


Dr. Hannibal Lector– played by Mads Mikkelsen– is a brilliant forensic psychologist and culinarian (although some of the ingredients in his dishes are questionable).  In one scene we see his soft side with Dr. Alana Bloom, and in the next, he is slaughtering people and arranging them in dramatic convoluted poses.  Far beyond what is necessary to end their life.  He’s an artist when it comes to designing a shocking display for the FBI.  Yet, part of me loves him!  Why?  Because nothing is black and white with him.  He’s justified in his actions, which makes him a perfect character.  However, in the real world the serial killer is a frightening creature.  And one I never want to come in contact with in a dark alley.

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Please don’t base your success or failure by what you read on the internet

I don’t normally bash other people’s posts.  If you own a blog you have the right to say anything you want.  Right?  Well, in this case no.  And I’ll tell you why.

I was reading a post (I won’t reveal what blog or the author because that wouldn’t be right) where a young writer stated…  She read an article about authors who have “made it” and they said they wrote 1000 words per hour.  Well, I don’t know where she found this article or what it actually said, BUT she ran with it.  Advising all new writers to set their word count goals to 1000 words PER HOUR!  That’s right, 1000 words per hour.  No excuses.  Her words, not mine.

As I read this post I couldn’t believe the so-called advice she was giving to new writers.  It got my hackles up big time!



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Out of the Darkness– Part two

Out of the Darkness– part two

Author’s note:  When we first met Scarlet she was suicidal over losing her husband and her sight in an automobile accident, caused by a drunk driver.  She daydreamed about splaying open her wrists in a bubble bath. Her live-in nurse, Evaughn, jarred her awake and announced that she had something special planned for Scarlet:  a walk through her rural neighborhood– alone.  Reluctant, Scarlet agreed.   She ambled down the road– her walking cane tapping side-to-side in front of her– and her mind wandered.  When she snapped out of her reverie her surroundings had changed.
This is where we begin part two, with Scarlet’s nerves jumping like hot oil in a cast iron skillet.  Alone and terrified.

Out of the Darkness

Part 2

Something was different.  I couldn’t hear the dog barking anymore.  The children’s voices trailed around the corner and vanished like vapor.  There were no familiar sounds.  The sun faded.  And a coolness chilled my bare arms, sheathing my skin in goosebumps.

I must have wandered off the road somehow.


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Tomorrow is part two of Out of the Darkness, my post on Prose & Cons

For those of you who have followed this blog, you know I am a member of Prose & Cons.

For those of you who are new to this community:  Prose & Cons is a multi-author blog, aka the gang of twenty-one.  We blog about books, the people who read them, write them, and everything in between.

A couple of weeks ago I posted the first half of my short story, Out of the Darkness, on Prose & Cons and re-posted it here.  Tomorrow is part two.  I will again re-post here for those of you who aren’t following this amazing authors blog.  For those of you who would like to check out Prose & Cons the address is:  http://www.auniqueandportablemagic.blogspot.com.

Hope to see you all there!

If not, I will see you here for part two of Out of the Darkness.

Stay Tuned!